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What Colors Are on Your Plate?

Can the colors on your plate tell you what health benefits you are getting?

As researchers are learning more and more about the foods we eat there is one hot topic that keeps coming up?.phytochemicals. You may have heard the latest craze for lycopene found in tomato products boasting its heart health benefits. Phytochemicals are biologically active chemicals (not classified as vitamins or minerals) found in foods that our bodies may use as part of their disease-fighting arsenal. A single tomato or orange contains, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of phytochemicals. This is very exciting news for researchers since many of these phytochemicals act as antioxidants and also provide other benefits for cancer prevention. They have also found that the color of the edible part of our fruits and vegetables can tell us what class of phytochemicals it contains and therefore, what health benefits we can obtain. Finally! Now when your mother says eat your vegetables, their good for you? we can see how they are good for us!

Blue/Purple (blueberries, grapes, eggplant, plums)
Health Benefits:
a lower risk of some cancers,
aids in memory function, and
healthy aging

Green (spinach, broccoli, salad greens, green peppers, honeydew, kiwi)
Health Benefits:
a lower risk of some cancers,
vision health, and
strong bones and teeth

White (onions, bananas, garlic)
Health Benefits:
healthy heart, and
a lower risk of some cancers

Yellow/Orange (oranges, yellow and orange bell peppers, yellow watermelon, carrots)
Health Benefits:
healthy heart,
vision health,
improved immune system, and
a lower risk of some cancers

Red (strawberries, red bell peppers, pink watermelon)
Health Benefits:
healthy Heart,
improved memory function, and
a lower risk of some cancers

Now you can enjoy a colorful plate of food and improve your health at the same time!

Meri Raffetto, 2004

About the Author

Owner of Real Living Nutrition Services, Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian and a recognized professional in the area of nutrition and wellness. She offers individual nutrition counseling and has developed one of the only non-diet online weight management programs available on the internet. For more information or to sign up for Real Living's free nutrition newsletter, visit


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